First Koranic Reading in 85 Years Read Inside Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia was built by Christians and was an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral from 537 until 1453 when Muslims turned it into a mosque. For the past eighty years it has been a museum. But, Muslims in Turkey want to turn it back into a mosque.
The first Koranic reading in 85 years was read inside the Hagia Sophia this week.
A Muslim cleric has for the first time in 85 years recited the Koran in the Hagia Sophia, the world famous landmark of Istanbul which is now a museum after serving as a church and a mosque, reports said Saturday.
The Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum accessible to all by the secular founders of modern Turkey in the 1930s and secular Turks are wary of any moves to re-Islamise the building.
A passage from the Koran, the holy scripture of Islam, was recited late Friday at a ceremony in the Hagia Sophia to mark the opening of a new exhibition “Love of the Prophet.”
It was read by Ali Tel, imam at the Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in Ankara, the official Anatolia news agency said.
The ceremony was attended by top Turkish officials including the head of the country’s religious affairs agency Diyanet, Mehmet Gormez.
Anatolia said it was the first recitation of the holy Koran in the Hagia Sophia for 85 years.
The exhibition inside the Hagia Sophia is a show of calligraphic work in devotion to the Muslim Prophet Mohammed and runs until May 8.
The magnificent edifice was constructed in the sixth century as a church in the Christian Byzantine Empire and was the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the former name of Istanbul.